Here's a great tip:
Enter your email address and we'll send you our weekly magazine by email with fresh, exciting and thoughtful content that will enrich your inbox and your life, week after week. And it's free.
Oh, and don't forget to like our facebook page too!
Contact Us

How does one clean a soiled tallit?

How does one clean a soiled tallit?

 Email

Question:

How does one clean a soiled tallit? It is made of wool and is quite old, and has never been cleaned.

Answer:

A wool tallit needs to be hand-washed with a delicate soap, like Woolite, which is especially designed for delicate, wool garments. Soak it for several hours or overnight and then hand wash. If necessary, repeat more than once.

A tallit can also be dry cleaned. However, it might not be advisable to give a tallit to your local dry leaning establishment—as the ones not familiar with tallitot (i.e. most cleaners that are not situated in areas with orthodox Jewish populations) don't always know how to handle them and can cause damage.

Chana Weisberg is the editor of TheJewishWoman.org. She lectures internationally on issues relating to women, relationships, meaning, self-esteem and the Jewish soul. She is the author of five popular books.
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with Chabad.org's copyright policy.
 Email
Join the Discussion
Sort By:
26 Comments
1000 characters remaining
Chabad.org Staff October 6, 2016

To Anonymous I would contact a Judaica store or Sofer (scribe) near you. Reply

Anonymous Tarzana-Los Angeles October 2, 2016

The fingers on one corner of my tallit fell off. Where can I get it repaired. Reply

Rosalie Brooks Maryland September 19, 2016

How do you clean a Tallit Reply

Rivka Thornhill June 13, 2014

Washing Tallit I washed my husband's tallit in the washing machine on delicate cycle with a little Woolite and it came out perfectly. Hang to dry. I would not recommend this for an old tallit, hand washing would be preferable. Reply

Llandon Ross April 7, 2014

Stretched Wool Tzitzit B"H
How dose one deal with Stretched out wool tzitzis ???? Reply

M. J. Simon July 19, 2013

Dry cleaning tallit? NO!!!! Our nephew asked if we could provide one of his grandfather's (OBM) tallism to use as the chuppah later this summer. Mom (OBM) had made Dad a lightweight tallit that he could wear, comfortably while davening, during the heat of the summer, from a beautiful brocaded fabric and had added the tzitzit to the corners, but it looked incomplete. So, I ordered a atarah and planned after having it affixed to have it cleaned and pressed and boxed as one of our gifts to the bridal couple.

I realized that had I taken it to a commercial cleaner that I risked making it impure, which would have disappointed Dad. So, I very much appreciate the comments on this thread that explained what is acceptable and what must be avoided. Thank you, all. You helped me honor both of their memories. Reply

Karen Dallas June 10, 2013

Coffee stain on tallit Someone spilled coffee on my husband's tallit. How can I clean it! It is yellowed as well. Reply

praisingann albuquerque March 19, 2013

response to March 19 review Dear "Anonymous",
Sorry to hear that your husband received a dirty tallit. In researching how to deal with the yellow stain, all I found was what NOT to use. Since wool is a protein, do not use any product such as Shout or Spray n Wash . Their websites state it is not for wool or silk, as these products are made to breakdown proteins. My suggestion my be to add a small portion of woolite to the stain directly as per their instructions.
If you've tried this, maybe dry cleaning is your only option. Hope you are successful in the cleaning of this tallit. Reply

Anonymous March 19, 2013

My husband got a very old and dirty tallit as a present. I've soaked it in with wanish for 4 hours than in wolite for another 5 hours than i hand washed. It become whiteish again and most of the dirt went away nicely except the big yellow one at the neck part. Any idea What to do with it? About the knots - you shouldn't cut them for sure just take a small fork or a thin brush which is used f.e. for brushing out the persian carpet's fringes and carefully brush out the fringes on your talit then knot them again. It will take a few hours but there is a good chance that they will turn out nicely again. Reply

Larry Chicago, IL October 27, 2012

Cleaning my Tallit I live in the Chicago area. Does anyone know a cleaner I can use? After 40 years, it's time I had my Tallit cleaned. Reply

Anita Lepelstat Lakewook, NJ, USA October 23, 2012

tallit cleaning Hello,
I have my husband's tallit which is not made of wool, but a "silky" material...don't know what exactly. As my husband is deceased, my grandson who is about to be Bar Mitzvah would like to use it for his ceremony. I am honored that he do so. The tallit is in excellent condition, but I am fooling with the idea of freshening it up, by having it cleaned. I have mixed feelings about this as I am afraid of it being ruined on the other hand.... Do you have any knowledge of where I could have this done professionally? In your experience, can this type of tallit be cleaned and how does it come out. I may be better not doing anything, but I am conflicted over this. Can you please advise me? Thanks, Reply

John Sarvis Bernadette's French Cleaners. Akron Akron, OH October 21, 2012

I am a specialty dry cleaner in Akron, Ohio, and have been cleaning tallit's for years. A tallit should never be dry cleaned. The main reason is the high possibility of the tallit coming into contact with linen fibers, even if it is cleaned alone in a separate load. 99% of dry cleaners NEVER use purified distilled solvents on each load as we do. Why? because it is extremely expensive to do so. The point being is that a recycled load of solvent will almost always have linen fibers in it, and even the fibers must not come in contact with the wool.

We hand wash all tallit's separately, with a mild fragrance free hypoallergenic detergent, and ALWAYS drip dry. Once again, just as an added precaution, the tallit is never put into a washing machine to spin, or a dryer, because there is a possibility of it coming in contact with linen fibers. When we press them, we lay down a pressing cloth on the pressing board made of pure Egyptian muslin on both the top and bottom of the tallit, ensuring that even during the pressing process the tallit doesn't come in contact with any wool fibers that may me on the pressing board.

Although this may seem to be "over kill”, it’s the right way to do it.

John Sarvis
Reply

ruth elias Minneapolis, MN July 29, 2012

tallit with moth holes where can we get moth holes repaired? We need to use the tallis for a chuppah. Reply

Anonymous minneapolis, mn October 1, 2011

Tallit repair My wool tallit has a number of small moth holes. Can it be repaired and will it be kosher? Reply

Celeste Philadelphia, PA February 3, 2011

What happened to my tallit? Thanks to G-d I have purchased a new tallit and I have also found a Jewish cleaners that doesn't ruin it. I still have the old on and I may take you up on the idea of cutting the "dreadlocks" off the old one. Thank you for your comments Reply

marcos bernal Richmond, va February 1, 2011

fringe ends I found out that after washing my wool tallit in the sink (letting it soak a bit then pressing the bubbles through the layers and making suds, that the "feathers" don't look like feathers anymore but dreadlocks or octopus legs... so I cut em off except for a small knob at the end...hope this doesn't de-kosher it - actually its not bad looking it cleans the look up - would this happen at a dry cleaners? Reply

Celeste Philadelphia,, PA March 11, 2010

Consecrated women How does one embrace an inclination by to wear a tallit all the time? Are there tallits that are more durable than others? Is there a color that will stand the use more than the white one which I own? Is there a regulation about how many you can own? Reply

praisingann albuquerque, nm March 9, 2010

cleaning tallit I own several tallits, some made with wool and also a couple made with acrylic blend.
I have hand washed them all in woolite with cold water.
They all come out fine when steam ironed after drying.
I have no confidence in the dry cleaners where I live. I'd hate to spend $$$ with them and have the tallit ruined after.
None of them look any worse for wear when using woolite, and they have all held up nicely. Reply

Menachem Posner for Chabad.org October 12, 2009

RE: cleaning tallit/tzitzit According to my online research, you can wash tekhelet made from the murex, and you can even use bleach. However, it seems that the cuttlefish tekhelet is not quite as fast. Which one do you have? Reply

Anonymous Winston-Salem, NC October 11, 2009

cleaning tallit/tzitzit My tallit is wool with the blue thread in the tzitzit. I am concerned that if I soak it in Woolite, the dye might bleed from the tzitzit. Is the blue dye colorfast? Reply

This is no fringe mitzvah! The tallit and tzitzit serves as constant reminders of our obligations to G-d and our fellows.
Related Topics

Need A Talit?